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Convergence Insufficiency: Not As Simple As It Seems

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Many young children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in reality, that isn't the problem at all. You may be relieved to know that he or she might have a particular vision problem, which effects learning at school, medically referred to as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a near vision problem that impacts a child's capability to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even though it's a book or activity sitting just in front of them. Someone with CI struggles to, or is more or less not able to coordinate their eyes at close distances, which makes common activities, like reading, really hard. And because they want to avoid double vision, schoolchildren strain more to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. And this extra work will often give way to a number of uncomfortable symptoms including headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend even during relatively small reading periods.

You might also notice that your child easily loses the place in a book, squints or tends to shut one eye, has a hard time remembering what was read, or describes how the words seem to move around on the page. Also, some children get motion sickness.

CI is frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision condition is often not picked up when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the resulting difficulties when it comes to basic skills like reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI can be expected to respond well to proper treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't tested adequately, and as a result, aren't getting the treatment they need early enough. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, make an appointment with us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.